Herpes Expert Forum
Exposed to Herpes - now what?
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Welcome to the Herpes forum. This forum is for questions and support pertaining to herpes simplex virus infections (HSV-1 and 2) and herpes zoster (shingles) and the virus that causes it, varicella zoster virus. Questions about genital herpes are welcome both here and on the STD Forum.

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Exposed to Herpes - now what?

I asked this on the STD forum, too, but I am freaking out, so I thought I'd ask in both places:

Last week I had intercourse with a woman, who later that evening began to feel the itching/tingling of the onset of a herpes outbreak.  We used a condom for the entire vaginal intercourse, and happened to jump right in the shower after the event, but we performed unprotected oral sex on each other prior to vaginal intercourse.  It has only been 4 days since the event, and so far I have not had any symptoms.  I have an appointment with an STD doctor later this week, but I am freaking out.  Is it a foregone conclusion that I've contracted the virus, or is there a chance that I may not have?

I have recently tested negative for herpes via blood test, so I don't think that I had Herpes prior to this event.  I know that many people don't get symptoms at all, and that it can take months for a blood test to show exposure.  How can I prevent passing it on to someone else?  I always wear a condom, but do I run the risk of infecting someone if I kiss them, even without symptoms?  

Thanks for answering.
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55646_tn?1263664409
I think your risk of infection in this situation is very low.  You don't mention of the woman was taking daily medicine or not, but if she was, that makes it even lower.  This risk of transmission is likely less than 1% at any given intercourse with an infected person, particularly if you were wisely using condoms for this encounter.  If you know that you were negative prior to this encounter, then you need only follow up with a type specific antibody test at 4 months if you feel strongly about it.  Since you are aware of her status, and yours as well, you will be observing carefully for symptoms and would likely pick up infection vs. the person who isn't really looking for herpes symptoms.  

Until you do test negative, assuming you do, I would recommend that you continue to use condoms with sexual encounters.  If you are showing no signs of oral sores, I think kissing is fine.

Terri
5 Comments
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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks, Terri.  She was not on daily medicine, and was experiencing prodomal (sp?) symptoms when we had sex.  Saying that I am observing carefully for symptoms is a giant understatement!  Over-observation and anxiety-related sensations are probably a bigger risk at this point than missing an obvious symptom.  But I am keeping in mind your comment on an earlier thread that if you need a magnifying glass to see it, it probably isn't herpes.

The good news is that it has been about 9 days and I haven't seen any skin symptoms on my mouth or genital region.  I had a bad headache for a few days after the encounter, but no fever, so I'd guess the hadache was stress from finding out about her exposure.  

Am I right to think that if I am closely checking for symptoms and do not see any unusual skin conditions in the first 2 weeks following exposure (knowing that I tested negative prior to this encounter) that it is highly unlikely I am infected?  
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55646_tn?1263664409
Yes, you are correct.  The average time from infection to symptoms is 5.5 days, so you are on the good side of things already!

Terri
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Avatar_f_tn
I had unprotected sex a week ago and had a burning/stinging pain on the head of my penis within 24 hours after sex. its a week later and the pain hasn't went away. I have no visible signs on my genital area and urinating feels fine. Can anyone help me out?
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55646_tn?1263664409
I would recommend that you see a health care provider for an evaluation to sort this out.

Terri
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Terri Warren, RN, Adult Nurse Pr...Blank
Westover Heights Clinic
Portland, OR
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